Razing Cane in Kekaha keeps the past alive

KEKAHA — “That clock came from the main office. I just gave it a fresh coat of paint for this space,” Chris Fayé said, pointing to a wall clock that anchored a display of artifacts that set off one corner of the Razing Cane Design office/studio located in the old Kekaha Sugar Company office building.

“That used to be the main clock here,” Fayé explained. Throughout the cozy office/gallery/ studio, artifacts from the sugar plantations punctuate the various artwork produced by Fayé.

A lot of the pieces that hang on the walls bear the influence of the sugar-plantation lifestyle, and the artifacts and artwork seem to go hand-in-hand.

“Some of the artifacts come from other plantations, but most of them are from Kekaha Sugar,” Fayé said, with the Venetian blinds in the studio effectively blocking out the view of the now-empty hulk that dominates the Kekaha skyline.

“This is my first commercial space,” Fayé said, from behind an alcove formed by a recycled drafting table, a desk that came from Kekaha Sugar dominated by a personal computer, and a smaller table that is commanded by an ancient Underwood typewriter.

Even the chairs she sits on, and the one reserved for clients, “used to come from this office building,” she boasts.

“I’ve run things out of my house for many years, but sometimes you have to meet people, and it was just time to have some place like this,” Fayé said, while she tried to conduct business.

In her Razing Cane office that calls out to passing motorists via a contemporary “Open” neon sign, Fayé said she has prints for sale, and hopes to expand the “art-for-hire” side of her business.

She fished out a black-and-white, stained copy of a walking-tour map of Waimea town that she is currently in the process of updating.

“I also have some old photographs (from the sugar-plantation era), and even some papers from Kekaha Sugar, if anyone is out there doing research,” she said.

With the opening of Razing Cane Designs, Fayé says she now has an obligation to try and spend some time where customers can reach her, so for now, her hours are pretty much 9 a.m. until about 1 p.m. “for sure,” and then, more than likely, she’ll be around in the afternoons.

“But I have to keep time for clients, and deliveries, so it’s best if people make appointments,” she chuckles.

“This space feels good,” she said. “And this is a ‘safe’ building.

In the old days, people used the road as a boundary during tsunami evacuations, and everybody used to come to this building.” In actuality, Fayé says almost all of Kekaha is in the inundation zone, and people need to evacuate to Waimea. “But I don’t think that town can hold all of us, so I guess we just gotta go higher up,” she said.

For now, the task of unpacking challenges the artist who lists her talents as: illustrations and fine art, watercolors, pen and ink, T-shirt designs, hand-cut stencils, exhibit design, hand-painted signs, copy writing, editing, flyers and newsletters, digital photos, and workshops.

“It’s always been like this,” Fayé said.

For more information, contact her at Razing Cane Designs at 337-1005, or peek through the window at 8315-E Kekaha Rd.

“Now, I got about 30 years of work that will be in this space to get organized,” she said.

Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@kauaipubco.com.

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